One of the signs of maturity is the ability to accept a different view point with out showing any feeling of resentment. Little children are easily offended. They play and rejoice together but the moment one of them opposes the other, immediately their play is finished and a bitter fight begins. They can not easily accept something they don’t like. They can not hold their emotional reaction to such unfavourable experience. That’s juvenile behaviour.
A born again child of God must not just remain as a little child. He should keep on growing in the Lord as he progresses in Christian life. He must be able to bear with different experiences in life and reactions of different people. We can not simply assume that every one we come across will be sympathetic to us or agree with us. All are different with variety of gifts, talents and unique personality traits.
Each one has their own conviction and outlook in life. Just as we have freedom to hold and propagate a particular view, others too have the same freedom. In these circumstances we can not expect that every one agrees to what we say, just as we do not agree to all what others say. In other words, do not assume that all those who disagree with us are our enemies.
Hold the truth
Does it mean that we should simply keep quite when some one teach or spread a false teaching or ideology? Or shall we just follow anything that our friends tell us. No, not at all. We may have to respond according to the seriousness of the issue. Using our legitimate privileges we can counter any erroneous ideas and present our view. Especially in connection with the basic Bible doctrines, we should not hesitate to make known the truth as loudly as we can.
But at the same time, we should not over-react to a different opinion and respond emotionally to the extent of even breaking off any relationship with those who disagree. Even as we stand for a principle or practice let us not forget the basic Christian attitude of humility, love and gentleness. 1Peter 3:15, 16. As born again believers it is not good to hate some one or publish stories against those who disagree with us, even if we do it in our zeal to protect and hold what we consider to be right.
Let us learn to be tolerant towards diverse opinions. Even as we hold on to our conviction and publicize it vigorously, bear with those who think otherwise. Be ready to listen to them and be comfortable with them. Do not forget, we too do not know everything! What ever we know is the result of God’s gracious dealings with us. He chose to enlighten our heart and mind to such wonderful truths that we dearly hold.
Pray that the Lord may open our eyes to more of His precious word and humbly respond to what He teaches. Be compassionate to those who fail to grasp what we could see. Even when we disagree, do not be disagreeable. Contend for the faith, yet do not be contentious. Wherever necessary let us agree to disagree!
Dispute with Christ.
A visiting preacher with all earnestness and burden preached on sin and its consequences. The members who used to hear only soothing messages and words of promises on prosperity and blessing were not impressed enough. Some of them were even offended at the harshness of the message. One of them in a defiant mood approached the speaker after the meeting and said, “I do not agree with you, I have a dispute with you, shall we talk it out and settle it.”
“Ah! Good” said the preacher, “what is it?”
“Why” he replied, “You say that the punishment for us is eternal hell; I do not think it is, as God is a loving person”.
“Oh, if that is all, answered the preacher, “there is no dispute between you and me. If you turn to Matthew 25:46 you will find that the dispute is between you and the Lord Jesus Christ; I advise you to go immediately and settle it with Him”.